Skip to Main Content

Competences: 23 Things Reference - Thing #9

Practice Exercises

Copy and paste the following text into a Word file. Answer the questions and then attach the Word file to an email and send to

1. A patron is looking for reviews and ratings of tablets.  What overall score or rating number did Consumer Reports give to the Apple iPod Mini (Wi-Fi, 16 GB)?

2.  A patron is looking for the article A Geek's Guide to Summer Survival.  Use Consumer Reports Online to find the article.  What date was the article published?

3.  A patron is looking for a plumber located in the Ephrata area.  Use the BBB website to find two plumbers.  List the company names and phone numbers as your answer.

4. Use the Ephrata Chamber of Commerce Business Directory to find an event planner located in Ephrata.  List the company name as your answer.

Reference Question for Thing 10

A patron keeps receiving missed calls from the following phone number, 717-390-4860.  The caller never leaves a message.  Help the patron find out who is calling them.  Email your answer to

Consumer Reports

Consumer Reports is an expert, independent, nonprofit organization whose mission is to work for a fair, just, and safe marketplace for all consumers and to empower consumers to protect themselves. The organization was founded in 1936 when advertising first flooded the mass media. Consumers lacked a reliable source of information they could depend on to help them distinguish hype from fact and good products from bad ones. Since then CR has filled that vacuum with a broad range of consumer information. To maintain its independence and impartiality, CR accepts no outside advertising and no free samples and employs several hundred mystery shoppers and technical experts to buy and test the products it evaluates.

The library subscribes to the print and electronic Consumer Reports magazine (electronic version is available through Zinio) as well as Consumer Reports Online.  To access Consumer Reports Online:

  • Go to 
  • The username is EphrataPublicLibrary and the password is EPH550 (the password is case sensitive).  NOTE: Do not give the username and password to patrons.  Consumer Reports Online should be used to help patrons at the desk if they are looking for specific reviews or articles. 


Better Business Bureau

What do you do when a patron asks: What is the phone number of a reliable plumber?  Can you recommend a good bakery?  My car needs some repair work, can you recommend a fair auto body repair shop?  We are doing some remodeling and need the names and phone numbers of several local contractors, painters and carpenters.  Do you know any good, local caterers?

 Sometimes you can make a personal recommendation; however if you have no personal recommendations...all the above questions can be answered using the Better Business Bureau (Mid-Atlantic region) website (

The Better Business Bureau is a nonprofit with the goal to promote and foster the highest ethical relationship between business and the public through voluntary self-regulation, consumer and business education, and service excellence.  The BBB does this by:

  •  Creating a community of trustworthy businesses
  • Setting standards for marketplace trust
  • Encouraging and supporting best practices
  • Celebrating marketplace role models, and
  • Denouncing substandard marketplace behavior

Searching the BBB Accredited Business Directory

  • Go to the BBB Mid-Atlantic website -
  • Click on the link For Consumers at the top of the page
  • Click on the BBB Accredited Business Directory link
  • You can search the directory by business name or business type and geographic location.  You can also browse the listings by type of business.


Ephrata Area Chamber of Commerce

Another great resource for finding Ephrata area businesses and contact information is the Ephrata Area Chamber of Commerce Business Directory, which you can access by going to their website  

To search the Chamber Business Directory, click the Directory link found at the top of their homepage.  You can browse the directory or search it by category or keyword.

Just for Fun: Other Consumer Websites to Check Out

Check out these fun consumer websites!  Great to recommend to patrons!


CNET shows users the exciting possibilities of how technology can enhance and enrich their lives. The site provides information, tools, and advice that help users decide what to buy and how to get the most out of their tech.

Each month, millions of people come to CNET to:

  • Read the latest news and unbiased reviews
  • Watch videos that demystify technology
  • Listen to podcasts
  • Download software, mobile applications, and games
  • Post opinions about the technology and the consumer electronics they live with every day
  • Learn from an objective source about the products and the technologies that are right for them

mySimon -

mySimon provides smart advice on all the latest products and the best deals from merchants you can trust.  It is a great site for price comparison on all kinds of products from electronics and computers to home decor and clothing.

Founded in 1998, mySimon was one of the first comparison shopping sites to launch on the Web, and was developed through a combination of proprietary technology and expert secret shoppers to be your virtual personal assistant when shopping online.

mySimon doesn't sell anything and it's not a generic search engine. Instead of simply listing the names of every store on the Web, you'll find unbiased guidance to help you decide exactly what to buy and where to buy it. So you can turn to Simon whenever you need skilled shopping recommendations, credible feedback on a merchant, or information on the lowest prices for a product.